15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We, three ladies, booked the cruise with Hurtigruten through our agent in Hong Kong. So, the cost covers one night in Buenos Aires (BA) and the 14 days trip. Before the trip, I read enough review about the Fram. Of course, there are ... Read More
We, three ladies, booked the cruise with Hurtigruten through our agent in Hong Kong. So, the cost covers one night in Buenos Aires (BA) and the 14 days trip. Before the trip, I read enough review about the Fram. Of course, there are always mixed rating and comments of the same thing. So, with a little reservation, we went ahead, no choice, right! We were lucky that we get to stay in Emperor hotel in BA, a nice hotel. The register went well, only that we have to get our other information separately. It would be more efficient if all information can be given at one time and that the free wifi be given to us at the same time. Then, the arrangement for getting on board of the bus to the airport is a little low profile, we were not aware or no noticeable sign on boarding the bus. Together with the other Hurtigruten guests, we board on the plane, flew to Ushuaia, and finally on board of the ship. The guest register was a bit disorganize, may be guests can be lined up instead of a crowd jammed in front of the counter. Two major things being asked for are: to let Fram keeps the passport and how we prefer to pay our bill. I decided to make payment in cash and, thus, have to make a down payment of US$100. Then I was given a cabin access card with my name, photo and my birthday(some privacy data, no?) Ours is a standard four person cabin, though a bit crowded but still OK coz we are relatively smaller size as Asian. We wish Fram has upgraded us to a more spacious cabin especially when we heard that there are others being upgraded at the spot! Anyway, the cabin provides basic amenities. We are satisfied except that the cabin space is at least 15% smaller than expected. There are standard cruise activities that come with the fare as part of the package deal, and there are additional paid activities. We learnt about the paid activities first before getting information on the standard cruise activities. So, we booked some of the paid activities. After we've done the first standard activity, we think we better stick with the standard ones because of our energy level. All the standard activities were great, safe yet adventurous enough. We were right about our decision of just doing the standard ones, we enjoyed all of them but not feeling stressful. There were lecture, adventure stories telling and documentary film sections on the ship, so one will never feel bored. All activities were educational, a good balance of information, knowledge and fun. As we understand that Fram is an expedition ship we did not have high expectation as we do for other luxurious cruise, such as food, services, etc. And because of this, we found that all the meals were good! Lots of choices and above average quality to us as asian whose taste bud have been spoiled in our own city. We have no problem with the supply of water, tea, coffee and chocolate...which were provided in a 24 x 7 pantry or water bar. Of course, one will have to take a few steps. We did not order any alcohol drinks and have been having water only during all our meals until the last third day when all activities were done and the ship was heading back to Ushuaia. We had no worries of our health and energy condition then we started to have wine and beer every meal. Oh, even the boots were free of charge! Anyway, we brought our own. May be because we have a TV crew from Germany, and that the ship company wanted to make sure everyone is happily! But nothing is flawless, we were kept pick on using plastic bags to protect our camera by one of the expedition staff who was rude to us even in front of other guests. OK, we accept that is to protect Antarctica. BUT, we saw European and American guests using much bigger plastic bags to protect their canon like lenses!!! So large that one would not be able to not seeing these plastic bags!!! We felt being treated differently. We used the plastic bags because we read from some of reviews from different sources suggesting us using plastic bags to protect our camera. We thought that should not be a problem and we use the plastic bags in a way that it won't blow away unless together with the camera. Anyway, nothing is perfect. I suggest also put more smiles on ones face would be much better. I only see true smiling faces when we were stepping out of the ship on that last morning! Otherwise, I would definitely rate this cruise an excellent!. Last but not the least, the service crew members from Philippine were all very talented! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My travel buddy and I flew to Spitsbergen from Oslo. Before our cruise we stayed overyight at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Nothing fancy, just a place to wait for the ship. The staff was helpful and friendly. I'll start with my only real ... Read More
My travel buddy and I flew to Spitsbergen from Oslo. Before our cruise we stayed overyight at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Nothing fancy, just a place to wait for the ship. The staff was helpful and friendly. I'll start with my only real complaint about my Fram experience: the check in procedure. We all seemed to arrive by bus from our hotels at roughly the same time...then we proceeded to our assigned deck, where I stood in line for one hour to be checked in - really, to provide them with my credit card information. The check-in process needs to be streamlined and improved. Other than that, the crew, the ship, almost everything and everyone met or exceeded my expectations. If we didn't want to purchase a drink package we were able to have water with each meal, and the food was VERY good. Our cabin was small but acceptable for the week we were on board. One of our excursions - a hike - was really more of a forced march. The terrain was so rough I couldn't enjoy the scenery because of the necessity to look where every step was taking me. The pace was far too fast for the conditions. Before we began our cruise I hoped for just one decent polar bear sighting. Of course, with wildlife there are never any guarantees.From the ship we saw a total of seven polar bear! I was thrilled to come home with five VERY nice photos of them. We also spent an hour on land watching a large group of walrus. Gliding through the heavy ice was a thrilling experience. Because of ice conditions our route was changed and a couple of landings were not possible but we knew we were at the mercy of the weather and ice. In the end, because of the ice, we didn't just circle Spitsbergen - we went around Svalbard! Of course everyone should investigate any company and specific ship and itinerary before purchasing a cruise, but I will heartily recommend Hurtigruten and the Fram to experience Spitsbergen. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015

We started our expedition by flying from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia where we picked up Hurtigruten’s boat MS Fram. The boat is lovely, lots of pine and a fantastic observation lounge with floor to ceiling windows. Our suite was ... Read More

We started our expedition by flying from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia where we picked up Hurtigruten’s boat MS Fram. The boat is lovely, lots of pine and a fantastic observation lounge with floor to ceiling windows. Our suite was great, a good size, but beware, some of the inside cabins are very small.

We had an amazing holiday, we saw five different types of penguins (Gentoos, Chin-strap, Magenellic, Rockhopper and King) and lots of seals (Fur, Elephant and Leopard). We saw whales and dolphins and many different birds including albatross and caracars. The scenery is stunning, words cannot describe the sheer beauty of the magnificent icebergs against the cobalt blue skies as the sun’s rays warmed everyone and everything.

We endured Force 10s crossing Drake’s Passage, about half the passengers were ill; we couldn’t put into Deception Island because of the Force 11 gale. We had fabulous days when the sun shone and the sky was blue – dips in the on-deck Jacuzzi were a must even though it was -1 C and snowing at times. We had days when the fog obstinately stuck around all day.

The best bits were undoubtedly seeing this amazing continent and getting to walk on the Antarctic, South Georgia and the Falklands. It was a real privilege to be there and see the animals and birds and to walk in the footsteps of Shackleton. The staff were really good; the lectures were exceptionally good generally and helped to set the scene perfectly. Safety was paramount, especially important when the transfers to the remote islands were made by Polar Circle boats in lumpy seas.

There were many long days at sea filled by lectures and film shows. You might want to take your knitting and a good supply of reading material/puzzle books. There is a supply of jig-saw puzzles on board, but there is also a limit to how many you might want to do. You might also want to take a pack of cards and/or other travel games.

The food was OK, the set dinners were better than the buffets, which were the norm at other times. The food was a bit repetitive, the fish and meat often over-cooked. We were expecting something a bit better given the cost of the holiday.

We were also disappointed by the penny pinching/money grabbing approach. This was an expensive holiday – the Antarctic is an expensive place to visit. We did receive ‘free’ anoraks, but had to pay to hire boots for the shore excursions – there is a big focus on ensuring that cross contamination of flora and fauna is minimised. The boot hire was only about £15 per person for the whole trip, but this was on a holiday costing £25,000.

Excursions were also expensive: kayaking for less than two hours cost £100 per person; a trip in the Polar Circle boat was exciting but another £90 each. There was a queue to camp on the Antarctic, even though it cost £250 for a bottle of water and a night in a tent. Don’t even think about going on the Buenos Aires city tour, it’s only about £30 each but a complete waste of money, you can wander around BA by yourself - just be careful someone tried to rob us by claiming that we had bird mess on our backs that they would help us clean off. In truth our good Samaritan had squirted the ‘bird mess’ onto our backs hoping that the diversion would enable him to pick our pockets. It does seem that Hurtigruten take advantage of the ‘I will only do this once’ sentiment. We also don’t understand why only passengers who have booked suites are offered a glass of fizz on arrival, we stood in the same queues as passengers who hadn’t booked a suite, we were offered a drink and they were quite clearly told that it wasn’t for them – an embarrassing start to the trip. Similarly, we were given ‘free’ water, wine and beer at lunch and dinner because we were part of the ‘Suite Concept’. Everyone else was charged for water at approx £2 per person per day; you could buy a package for the whole trip that reduced the cost to about £1.50 per day. Similarly only those passengers in suites were provided with ‘smellies’ and tea/coffee making facilities in their cabins.

Internet access is chargeable but rarely available; so just don’t assume that you will have access. Bar prices are also high, £4+ for a small beer, £5+ for a gin & tonic, £25 for a bottle of wine.

We also had a multi-national group of about 200 passengers (the boat can hold about 300) who were interesting to meet – a special sort of person is attracted to this special holiday. We did have a large contingent of about fifty Chinese passengers on our boat – they made up about 25% of the passengers. The experience was not very positive; they frequently took over the lounge/bar area and were very noisy in the dining room. Landings were also marred by their refusal to abide by the rules. Passengers were split into six teams for landings; the first landing started with team 1 going first, followed by teams 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6. The teams were expected to return in the same order. On the second landing team 2 went first followed by teams 3, 4, 5, 6 & 1. This rotation continued so that each team was given the chance to be first on the islands or last off. However, the Chinese passengers would often refuse to leave the islands at their allotted time forcing other passengers to return early.

This was the most wonderful holiday; I will long remember standing in the sea with baby seals nudging my legs in curiosity, the sight of ‘baby’ albatross as big as their rockhopper penguin neighbours and the absolutely stunningly beautiful iceberg alley. A wow holiday, it could have been perfect with a little less penny pinching and better behaviour from the Chinese passengers.

 

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15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

We have recently returned from an Antarctic cruise on the Fram. This is sold as a 19 day cruise but although day one starts by having to be at the local airport in Buenos Aires at 3 a.m. you don't actually get onto the ship until 4 p.m. ... Read More

We have recently returned from an Antarctic cruise on the Fram. This is sold as a 19 day cruise but although day one starts by having to be at the local airport in Buenos Aires at 3 a.m. you don't actually get onto the ship until 4 p.m. and on day 19 you are going to be leaving the ship at about 7.30 a.m. So, effectively it is a 17 day cruise.

The Fram is an excellent ship for the job, being large enough to be comfortable but small enough to get into places that bigger liners would never get to or be allowed to go to, South Georgia for instance has a limit of 100 people ashore at any one time at most of the places we stopped at. Try that on a 2 - 3000 passenger liner.

We were blessed with good weather and we landed at almost all of the places intended, however, Hurtigriten do like to make the most of a 'captive audience'. They offered us organised trips at Ushuaia and on the Falklands. All of them seemed quite expensive for what they were so we only pre-booked one which was at Port Stanley. It was fairly interesting, a visit to a penguin colony, but given that we visited numerous others for no extra cost on South Georgia and the Antarctic Islands subsequently this trip was a waste of money, and time as you don't get long in Stanley.

Other extras were offered once on board: snowshoeing, kayaking, trips in the Polarcircle RIBs and several hikes. All of these were quite expensive for what they were for instance about £75 for a 2 hour cruise in the RIBs just to see the sights along the shore, almost £100 each for two and a half hours kayaking which, with 5 two-man kayaks earned the line about £1000 for the use of the boats plus two guides. Even the hikes which usually have over 50 people on them will cost you around £25 per person when you might think that they could throw in a guided walk of a few miles free of extra cost especially when you consider that the 'trainee' members of the Expedition Crew are not even being paid by the Line but are doing their jobs unsalaried just to gain experience.

They rely, of course on the "well, I'll only be here once" thought that goes through our minds and makes us pay these silly extra costs.

Then there's the bar prices. I didn't want a 'booze cruise' but it would have been nice to have a beer at the end of an active day or a bottle of wine with dinner but with Carlsberg lager (the only beer they had and one that I don't like) costing almost £7 per pint and Chilean 'plonk' that sells in Buenos Aires supermarkets for about £5 a bottle being priced at around £25 per bottle on the ship I had a very 'dry' holiday. Obviously it is not that people who can afford the cruise can't afford the drinks but I object to being 'milked' in this way especially when the Line presumably buys the stuff as 'Bonded Stores', that is to say, without having to pay duty on it.

They also x-ray your cases when you come aboard, including hand-luggage. This is not as you might think to protect you from guns and bombs. It is to protect their bar profits by spotting and removing any alcohol you may have brought with you.

To add insult to injury they also charge for water to drink in the restaurant but they offer a 'deal' whereby you can pay about £20 per head for the privilege of having a carafe of 'mineral' water on your table every evening. This deal is supposed to be per person whereas, of course, it should be per couple but having had a very early start (up at 01.45 a.m.) to catch the flight to Ushuaia I allowed myself to be bounced into agreeing to it for each of us so we paid almost £40 in total.

It is a real shame that Hurtugruten feel the need to rip-off their clients in these petty ways as the cruise itself was everything we could have hoped for but the constant feeling that you are being 'milked' leaves a nasty taste that even their very expensive water cannot wash away.

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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

Going to Antartcica is expensive. Hurtigruten is a good lower budget alternative

Main complaint: Land services. We, and others in the ship, had bad experiences with the flights from BA to Ushuaia and their associated ... Read More

Going to Antartcica is expensive. Hurtigruten is a good lower budget alternative

Main complaint: Land services. We, and others in the ship, had bad experiences with the flights from BA to Ushuaia and their associated 'excursions'. Getting information out of Hurtigruten and their local land operator was virtually impossible. We found out our Ushuaia departure flight time less than 10 hours before we left - at 2:30 in the morning! Wouldn't have been a problem if we had been prepared and not booked a tango show for that night. Just be decent and give people the information and then then can be prepared or make alternative arrangements themselves. My advice is to get to Ushuaia on your own and don't book with the cruise. Also, the Escondido Lake 'excursion' was an absolute rip off. The bus drove out to a roadside outlook of a lake and returned. That was it. Avoid any land segments- badly organized and no value for money. There are also plenty of nice hotels in BA and there is no need to stay at the Emperador.

Cabin: It was small but ok. We had a large window to look out to on deck 6 which made watching the scenery easy. The bathroom is quite small and there is limited storage. The good news is that you don't need any fancy clothing. Jeans and fleeces are fine at any time. Take quick dry fabrics because they will get wet during landing and there is much space to dry clothes. Thankfully items dried very quickly.

Food: It was fine, nothing special. Don't expect fancy cruise food. Service was OK but there are a lot of rules which the staff will remind you of readily. We had to pay for drinks including water. We did buy a water package which meant that we got a carafe of the same water that came out of the tap. It was conveniently if you are a big water drinker but totally unnecessary. I eat mostly vegitarian and didn't have trouble finding things to eat. Remember that you will be in the middle of nowhere and expecting fresh fruits and veggies is not that realistic

Entertainment: It was mostly lectures which were good. The big problem was that they were so well attended it was difficult to find a seat. This is really and educational style trip and so don't expect a lot of entertainment.

Cruise Excursions: Amazing and made the trip worth while. We felt completely safe with the expedition staff. We also paid a number of extras including kayaking, which was so worth while. This is where to spend a little extra money, rather than on drinks! Getting geared up to go on the excursion can be a little frenzied because people are anxious to get on land. Definitely rent boots, they were comfortable and good quality. As a tip, leave your life jacket with your boots on the drying rack, that way you don't have to adjust a new life vest each trip.

It was a great trip - just keep your expectations of the ship low, make your own travel arrangements to Ushuaia, and let the scenery, wildlife and history make the trip fantastic !

 

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014

Let's start with the bottom line: A+ for the adventure/education experience and C- for amenities and even basic courtesy

Flight arrangements. Getting basic information from Hurtigruten's flight team would challenge the CIA. ... Read More

Let's start with the bottom line: A+ for the adventure/education experience and C- for amenities and even basic courtesy

Flight arrangements. Getting basic information from Hurtigruten's flight team would challenge the CIA. Something as simple as baggage limitations required faxes that went unanswered and a series of e-mails that produced absolutely contradictory information. Although I began my quest for answers almost two weeks before departure, it was not until we left the U.S. that I was able to determine that the ONE 8-kg "personal item" that LAN will permit is actually the "carry-on" limit, and that a "personal item" (purse, laptop, etc.) is indeed permitted in addition. I urge potential passengers to arrange their own travel to Ushuaia. LAN flies Fram passengers from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia in an Airbus 320, which was evidently designed by the same folks who learned their ergonomics from the manufacturers of sardine cans. I am only 5 feet 7 inches tall, and I sat with my knees against my chest for three and a half hours. I have flown in military cargo planes that were more comfortable.

The cafeteria quality food: Most lunches and dinners were buffet style with quality equivalent to U.S. family restaurant chains, such as Cracker Barrel or Country Buffet (exception: Cracker Barrel does NOT include reindeer stew on its menus). On one of two nights when we had a sit-down meal instead of a buffet, the pork schnitzel was so dry and hard (not tough, brittle-hard) that the cutlets could not be cut with flatware—one of our table companions demonstrated that he could take it his two hands and break it like a thin piece of wood. Can’t seem even to get the good things right. Smoked salmon available at almost every meal . . . lox, but not a spoonful of cream cheese within 500 miles. Mayonnaise? Yes. Mustard? Yes. Butter? Yes. Cream cheese? Blank stares or, to be more accurate, hostile glares, which is what one gets when he asks anything the least out of the ordinary from the Filipino hotel staff. The breakfast buffet is better, or at least more varied, than the complimentary breakfasts one gets at Comfort Inn or Motel 6, and one can actually order a breakfast from the kitchen instead of eating from the buffet, but we timed it. More than 30 minutes to arrive—with the very likely result of missing one’s scheduled landing.

Regimentation of services. One cannot take a glass of wine back to one’s cabin. Fear of liability should a passenger fall and break a glass. And, room service available only to passengers who book suites.

The very(!) poor service by the serving staff (The "Ugly"): They spend more time chatting, laughing, and flirting among themselves then they do waiting on passengers. And they have the audacity to scold passengers who finally, in desperation, get up help themselves. One got in my wife's face and told her that getting coffee was HIS job. She told him that she wouldn’t have to do it herself if he’d get himself over to the table and actually DO his job. They don’t even smile until a day or two before debarkation when everyone is being reminded about tipping.

The hotel staff double as deck crew (at which they are superbly good—getting passengers in and out of boats, sometimes in very challenging conditions), so don’t expect any real competence when it comes to their serving duties. Up in the bar I ordered my usual very dry, dirty, and straight-up vodka martini . . . and was brought a glass of vodka.

The rapacious nickel-and-diming passengers to death: The 10th-century Vikings made their living by raid and plunder. Their 21st-century Norwegian descendants have figured out how do the same thing without bloodshed. They run cruise lines and have you at their mercy.

Examples.

Do not forget any of your over-the-counter meds—aspirin, antihistamines, etc. There is nothing of the sort for sale in the minimal shop. The "Good": The store stocks excellent expedition quality outdoor gear--even better than the ski shop where we work. The "Bad": If you want so much as an antacid, much less something for sea-sickness, you need an appointment with the ship’s doctor. Minimum $150 fee.

Don’t go into the bar and ask for a glass of carbonated water. They don’t even have a carbonated water fixture at the bar. They open a can of sparkling water and charge you bar fee for . . . water. And, should you want carbonated water with meals, you either pay by the pitcher or buy a subscription for . . . water.

Don’t buy internet time. They sell by the minute, not by the megabyte. Our travel agent arranged a 1,000 NKr credit. We used some of it to buy an hour of internet access and then expended 45 minutes of it trying to forward the credit documentation to the reception desk 20 feet away from where we were sitting in the computer alcove. Subsequently, we exhausted a half-hour (200 NKr) sitting watching a screen say (CONNECTING TO GOOGLE). Never did get online, but the clock ran out nonetheless.

If these folks sold you a house, you’d find out afterwards that there was a surcharge for plumbing.

Nonetheless, we are contemplating another Hurtigruten cruise. Why? Because they go to some incredible places and because their expedition staff--leaders, ornithologists, biologist, geologist, photographer--are far better than the hotel staff is poor. They’re even better than on the Celebrity Xpedition. Every lecture was worthy of a PBS hour, and the personal photos that the staff have taken in the conduct of their research are often of the quality one expects from a David Attenborough presentation.

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Sail Date: December 2009
We had wanted to take an expedition style cruise to Antarctica for a while now. Having traveled previously on Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coast a number of years ago, when they started cruising to Antarctica last year at reasonable ... Read More
We had wanted to take an expedition style cruise to Antarctica for a while now. Having traveled previously on Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coast a number of years ago, when they started cruising to Antarctica last year at reasonable prices we were definitely interested. Antarctica promised to be a remote and unusual adventure with unique scenery and wildlife.

The Fram is a new ship (went into service in 2007) and is very comfortable with attractive Scandinavian modern style, and excellent public spaces, especially the observation deck on the 7th deck with comfortable chairs and floor to ceiling windows, and the 4th deck dining room, also with extensive windows and views.

Cabins:

We signed up for QJ mini suite with limited view. (Cabins below suite category are very SMALL--be aware of this before you book one). Initially we got less than we had expected or paid for: suite 503 instead of being a limited view suite was a NO view suite, with superstructure almost completely blocking the window and any views except at an extreme angle. After complaining to the Hotel Director, who confirmed that this should have been booked only as a no-view suite (as should the comparable one on the port side of the ship) and then, vehemently, to the Chief Purser, we were switched to suite 516, which was perfectly fine. Moderately roomy, with a comfortable queen bed, adequate floor space, good bathroom with shower, this suite had a decent outside view with only minor obstruction. Note: all the deck 5 QJ cabins have an accessible deck directly outside, so there is limited privacy unless the drapes are drawn.

Perks of having a suite on this cruise: 2 free shore excursions (Tierra del Fuego National Park and a tango show in Buenos Aires for us); a bottle of French Champagne in the suite, and free beverages with lunch and dinner (soft drinks, beer, mediocre wine).

Service: The dining room and cabin crew seemed to be almost exclusively Filipino. The staff were uniformly pleasant, courteous, and helpful, a real plus. We thought overall service levels were equivalent to the highly rated and expensive cruise lines like Regent and Silversea.

Shore excursions: Two a day while in Antarctica, and we didn't miss any because of bad weather which sometimes happening. These were the highlight of the cruise. Only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at one time, due to Antarctic regulations. So excursions were limited to 1 hour shore time. The Polar Cerkel boats which took us ashore are nicer than Zodiacs, with better protection from wind and spray. During the excursions, we could walk around on the snow and ice, climb small hills, walk past penguin rookeries (Gentoo, Adellie and Chinstrap Penguins) and past elephant seals and Antarctic birds. Vistas were spectacular, vast fields of white snow, white and blue snow and ice, icebergs, distant and mostly hidden mountains. It was foggy the entire trip, so we could never see the mountain peaks, which remained partially hidden and mysterious.

Food: This was usually good, never great. Most meals were buffet style, and we always were able to find something palatable. My vegetarian brother-in-law did fine. Best were the salads, fresh fruits, meat dishes. Not as much herring as I would have expected in a Norwegian line. (On the Norwegian coastal cruise there was abundant delicious herring preparations, salmon...) On the few set meals there was an alternate main dish offered (which had to be requested in advance, though).

Lectures: disappointing. We stopped going after the first few, as the lecturers weren't that interesting, mostly around Antarctic history. Not nearly enough about wildlife, our primary interest. Too anecdotal.

Entertainment: none that we went to, so I can't comment. Not much expected by us or offered.

Fitness: There is an adequately equipped fitness room which my wife used regularly. On decks 7 and 8 there are limited walking areas with excellent views. Two outdoor jacuzzis which we never had the opportunity to use.

Passengers: younger than we had expected,many people in their 40's and 50's and a few even younger. At least half seemed to be from the US, then about a third or more German, with some Asian, French and UK passengers as well. Announcements and lectures were offered in English and German.

Overall, we were all very pleased. The ship offered an extremely comfortable way to see this remote part of the world. Views from the ship were often spectacular, especially going (twice, once each way) through the Lemaire Channel. The shore excursions met all our expectations.

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Sail Date: February 2008
GET IN: the New York office of Hurtigrut has kinks; questions weren't answered, forms were sent late, promised fare adjustments have not been received. Our local travel agent ran great interference but stories of overbooking and bad info ... Read More
GET IN: the New York office of Hurtigrut has kinks; questions weren't answered, forms were sent late, promised fare adjustments have not been received. Our local travel agent ran great interference but stories of overbooking and bad info were commonplace. We were bumped from our preferred Jan 8 tour; were told that the sailing had been cancelled which was not true, more likely, we were a victim of an accidental iceberg contact and overbooking. Land services were good in Santiago, not so good in Ushuaia. Hurtigrut needs to not dump passengers at the dock with no place to go in either city; a dayroom for transferring passengers would be useful and was much needed.

SIT DOWN: LAN Airlines did a good job of getting us to Ushuaia. Our LAX connection was late so we were provided with dayrooms and meal vouchers. Ushuaia was interesting and Chile and Patagonia itself were worth a return trip. Embarkation was smooth; Fram was beautiful and the service was Norwegian/impeccable as always. The ship layout is much like other Hurtigrut ships, comfortable, efficient. The food served was hearty, Euro-style befitting our international passenger manifest. From the beginning address of Captain Andreasson thru the landings on the Peninsula we felt we had the safest boat and crew we saw anywhere in that amazing wilderness. The multilingual Expedition Staff was thoughtful, knowledgeable and approachable. The folks who got the most out of the landings were spry and fit, regardless of age.

SHUT UP: Hurtigrut sends extensive reading lists and info about what to bring and what to expect. READ THIS. Folks who had not provided themselves with good gear were cold and miserable. Wool DOES work better than polyprop or fleece. You WILL need seasickness remedies.We received great tips from some fascinating fellow passengers. A LOT of the experience was simply observing the last great wilderness--we spent lots of time with our jaws on the deck in wonder of the brutal magnificence of the White Continent.

HANG ON: We experienced Drake's Lake southbound; not so much northbound. Pack efficiently and bring good locks, your baggage is inaccessible for the transfers. Make sure you have "one hand for the ship." Leave your glitz behind and prepare to be awed by the experience. IT was truly the "trip of a lifetime."

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2008

My husband and I went on the MS Fram to the Antarctic and it was an experience. First let me say that this cruise is not for everyone. There is alot of down time while you are on the ship and there is not much to do except visit the ... Read More

My husband and I went on the MS Fram to the Antarctic and it was an experience. First let me say that this cruise is not for everyone. There is alot of down time while you are on the ship and there is not much to do except visit the observation lounge on the 7th floor and read or watch the beautiful views. This is something that I thought should be improved. They did have lectures but if that is not your thing then you could get a little stir crazy as we both did.

The ship itself was beautiful as it is new.. believe just around a year old. The room that we were in --cabin 330-- had an outside window but was much too small for two people. In my opinion you should upgrade if possible. We were told that the room was a good size but that was not the case... I had to have my husband leave in order to get dressed if that give you a clue... Since there is so much down time and only one other place on the boat to go to this was disappointing but we made the best of it. Also based on the price of the cruise I did expect a bit more. Be warned. They do have a hair dryer but it's a hose so if your not use to it ..well, let's just say if you have alot of hair it will take a while to get you dry.

The crew was wonderful!! Very kind and always willing to give you a hand. Especially the staff at the dining room. They were so pleasant and seemed to really enjoy their job.

Food was not my taste and I felt they had very limited options if you do not eat meat. We told them in advance of our restrictions and we were assured that there would always be a veggie option available but that was not the case.. in fact they put meat in everything including the vegetables. You could ask for a veggie option but that often took a long time to get from the kitchen. I also found the food to be very heavy --not very healthy.. they needed a lighter menu -- especially since you are not that active on the boat.

The excursions were great but I wished there were more. It was well organized but you only get one hour on land... and if your lucky you get two landings in one day. Since the weather was a bit challenging we missed one complete day of landings and then the captain decided that there was an opportunity to go the Arctic Circle so they cancelled a compete day of landings.. Some people were very excited.. I would have rather done more landings. I came for the wildlife. I also wished that you could cruise the glaciers more up close on the Arctic boats they used. We are younger than most of the people on the boat (average age seemed to be around 65-70 years old..) we are in our early 40's-- so again for us..we would have liked to have been more active.

Bring water proof pants.. and pack accordingly.... The boat is kept warm so you do not need as much warm weather gear as you might think. There is a laundry room on the boat that you can use for free and it was quick and painless.

It was a good cruise for the money... they should offer more entertainment on the boat instead of having the crew sing to us but if you know up front you can bring things along to keep you busy.

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Fram Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.9
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 2.0 2.8
Public Rooms 3.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.8

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